Natural Cures For Depression

For those suffering depression, sometimes the prospect of taking antidepressants or other chemically manufactured drugs can be undesirable. Some simply have no results from the traditional medications that they try.

Natural cures for depression have become more popular as people seek to find affordable and healthy alternatives.

Unfortunately, studies on natural cures for depression are few and inconclusive.
There is currently little or no scientific evidence to show that most of these remedies work and those that show promise are almost exclusively limited to mild or moderate cases of depression.

Nonetheless, many of these alternatives have proven very successful in practice and many people are quite pleased with their results.

Herbs and Supplements

Most herbal cures and supplements for depression work in one of two ways – either by increasing or decreasing certain chemicals in the brain related to mood (such as serotonin) or by relieving health conditions that are linked with an increase in the likelihood of depression (such as poor circulation). Some of these herbs and supplements are as follows:

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Folic Acid
  • SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine)
  • 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)
  • Ginko Biloba
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Saffron

Herbs and supplements have a risk of creating side effects and can be dangerous if mixed with other medications or certain health conditions. Therefore, a doctor should always be consulted before using them.

Proper Diet

The more studies that are done, the more doctors are coming to realize the importance of diet in relation to mood. Many forms of depression are linked to deficiencies such as vitamin B6 and magnesium which can be improved by the proper alterations in diet. Certain substances, such as foods high in sugar or caffeine, can create highs and lows which will increase the intensity of depression during certain periods. Other mood-altering substances, such as alcohol, should be avoided.

Exercise

Exercise is quickly proving to be one of the most effective natural methods for treating depression. Regular exercise releases endorphins (mood-enhancing chemicals) into the brain and produces a positive effect on one’s mood. Other ways that exercise helps with depression are peripheral but just as important:

  • Self-confidence gain from looking better
  • The feeling of accomplishing a goal
  • Diverting one from depression-oriented thoughts
  • Overall increase in health and energy levels
  • Reduction in sleep problems such as insomnia

Exercise need not be a workout at the gym. Any type of physical activity will have the same effect. Some chose to use dancing, home construction projects or sports as an option for maintaining an exercise routine.

Light Therapy

This method of natural depression relief is mainly for those suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Exposure to light first thing in the morning helps the body to regulate its sleeping and waking cycles properly and begins the day’s production of serotonin. A quick walk after waking can be the perfect way to get the light needed fight against the encroachment of depressive thoughts. Indoor lights which simulate natural daylight are also available to use in light therapy.

Massage Therapy

Massage has a number of health benefits aside from simply relaxing the body. Massage both promotes the removal of toxins from the body and reduces stress. Human contact has been shown to relieve stress as well. Many massage therapists specialize in depression-relief techniques and combine some of the other natural cures for depression listed below (such as music therapy or aromatherapy) with their massage routines.

Other Natural Cures For Depression

Most of these other treatments work by relieving stress and promoting an overall general improvement in health. Many of them utilize the mind-body connection premise, which states that the mind and body are intimately linked and what happens to one aspect affects the development of the other. Thus, if one’s body is relaxed then the mind does not worry as much.

  • Acupuncture – A Chinese medicinal technique that uses needles inserted into the body at certain locations to remove energy blockages. This treatment has proven effective in other areas as well, including headache and arthritis relief.
  • Aromatherapy – Using certain smells, via burning or vaporizing, to promote relaxation.
  • Music Therapy – Listening to music has shown to reduce feelings of fear, anxiety and stress.
  • Hypnosis – Used to focus one’s thoughts into a particular direction in order to promote the recognition of and solving of depression-related problems.
  • Reflexology – Applying pressure to certain points on the hands and feet to stimulate the nerves and induce relaxation in other areas of the body.
  • Meditation – A relaxation technique that has been used for thousands of years to clear the head of unwanted and negative thoughts while decreasing muscle tension, lowering blood pressure and decreasing the chemicals associated with stress.
  • Yoga – Used to help relieve stress and, contrary to what many people think, yoga is also a somewhat vigorous form of exercise.

Most people find themselves applying a number of these various remedies to help deal with their depression. Some combine these techniques with the more traditional natural cures for depression such as antidepressants and psychotherapy. Alone or in combination, these various natural cures have proven to be effective in helping many people deal with and eventually get past their depression.

How To Cure Depression

Due to the various causes of depression and the diverse physiologies that different people have, people will not react the same to different treatments. Oftentimes many methods must be tried before a solution is found.

A doctor can be an invaluable tool in finding the answer, as can knowledge about how to cure depression.

The most well-known ways to how to cure depression are therapy and medication. Often these two methods are used in conjunction to achieve the best results.

Medications, while not strictly a cure, will help to alleviate symptoms of depression while psychotherapy sessions get at the root cause of the problems and attempt to fix them.

Some important things to remember about using medications are:

  • They may only be needed short-term, but for severe conditions long-term use may be required
  • Different people experience different effects
  • Medications may worsen a person’s depression
  • It can take up to two months to know whether a medication is working
  • It may take many tries to find the medication that works properly
  • Most medications have withdrawal symptoms and must be eased off gradually

Eventually, a doctor will most likely be able to find a medication that works for the person suffering from depression. Often, however, they will have side effects. Some of the most common side effects are:

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Confusion and/or dizziness
  • Dry mouth, nausea, constipation and/or tremors
  • Headaches, insomnia and/or blurred vision
  • Cardiovascular issues such as high or low blood pressure and/or irregular heartbeat
  • Complications in pregnancy and/or damage to an unborn fetus

With the symptoms under control, therapy is the next step in making sure depression is actually cured as opposed to just suppressed. Psychologists can help a sufferer to learn about their depression and make changes to their lifestyles and behavior patterns as well as assisting them in dealing with the pain that they are feeling.

A therapist also serves as a sounding board for any developments that a sufferer may encounter during their recovery, whether they are good or bad. By having someone there to listen and give constructive feedback, one can receive the positive input needed when things are going right and the comfort needed when things get worse.

There are several different types of approaches that therapists use to deal with and cure depression:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – Focuses on identifying negative beliefs and behaviors and changing them to positive ones
  • Interpersonal therapy – Identifies the nature of the depression and sets goals to solve the problems which are contributing to it
  • Behavioral therapy – Defines the behaviors which a patient wishes to change and helps them develop techniques for changing them

Even with medications, psychotherapy can take months before a person feels any change in their depressive state. Depending on the severity of the depression, it may take up to a year or more before a sufferer is completely cured.

Other medical therapies may be used when medications are not effective or practical. One of these is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which uses electrical currents to affect the operation of neurotransmitters in the brain.

This process is usually reserved for those who have severe symptoms and can have side effects, including temporary confusion and memory loss.

Many people have turned to herbal remedies or other alternative and natural treatments to cure their depression. Studies show that more than 50 percent of people use an alternative form of treatment either with or without conventional medication and psychotherapy.

Some herbal remedies include:

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine)
  • 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)

 

Studies have shown no conclusive evidence on whether herbal remedies actually help with depression, though many claim to have had positive effects from taking them. As with all supplements, a doctor should be consulted before taking them, especially if one is taking other medications or has health conditions.

Some other alternative therapies which sometimes help are:

  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Massage therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Music therapy
  • Exercise

Recent studies have shown that exercise may have more of an impact on relieving depression than people think. Exercise has the effect of releasing endorphins into the body and improving one’s mood as well as reducing the immune system chemicals that worsen depression. Other positive effects include the psychological changes that increased self-confidence can bring. One particular study showed that a steady exercise program successfully eliminated depression symptoms in a percentage of people comparable to those cured through medications.

As always, much of the work resides in the hands of the person suffering the depression. There are many healthy habits to get into which will make other treatments more effective, such as:

  • Following doctors’ advice
  • Learning more about depression in general
  • Understanding one’s own depressive triggers
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Avoiding alcohol and other mood-altering substances
  • Getting plenty of regular sleep

By taking the necessary steps to become cured, there is hope for anyone who suffers from depression to eventually be free of its grip. With all the treatment options available, there is likely something useful for everyone.

 

Never stop a medication on your own

DEPRESSION

Many people will start a new medication when they are feeling down then immediately stop taking it when they are feeling better.

This is a terrible idea as it can actually cause you to feel even worse than you did initially. Always consult a doctor before stopping.

Eating a balanced diet and making sure you take in the right amount of vitamins and nutrients is also essential to living a well balanced and healthy life. Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of one’s diet, and what you eat has been proven to have much to do with your mood.

If your income is low and you are suffering from depression, try and find free or low-cost social services that can help you. Local governments offer community counseling services to those with low incomes, especially those people who qualify for Medicaid. These community counseling centers can also provide free samples of medication for those who can’t afford to fill a prescription.

When you are trying to improve your depression symptoms, remember that it is a long road. Some people think that depression can be cured right away, and get disappointed when their symptoms do not go away right away. Stay focused and be proud when each symptom slowly does go away.

If you suffer from depression, having a pet can help alleviate this condition. Studies have shown that individuals who own pets are less likely to have depression. Having a pet will help you feel less isolated. Since pets need care, you will feel a sense of being needed. A feeling of being needed can be a powerful antidote to suffering from depression.

It is wise for those who suffer from depression to find a hobby

By getting involved in a sport or other activity, you will help to keep your mind off of the negative feelings you may have. Try to get a friend or family member to join you in this activity.

Get out and get a little bit of sun every day. Many people with depression choose to hibernate in their home, but this isn’t the best option. Studies have shown that a lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Sit outside and have a cup of soothing tea, and you’ve accomplished relaxation and your sun time in one go.

Be sure you are getting enough exercise every day. Studies have shown that people who get approximately thirty minutes of exercise a day respond better to depression treatment. In fact, exercise can be as powerful as a pharmaceutical anti-depressant. Simply taking the stairs or parking your car a little further from the store can benefit your physical and mental health.

One great tip when battleling depression is to force yourself to smile. This may be hard especially because you are depressed but if you can do it you will not regret it. Scientists have shown that smiling releases endorphins and as such helps bring your mood to an elevated and happy state.